My parents have been married for almost 35 years. In that time, they, to my knowledge, have never once fought about money.
Now, they fight/squabble/bicker about other things, but never, ever about money.
Everyone knows that money can be a huge fight in relationships. Men and women value different things. My mom likes new clothes, and saw the purchase of power suits as an investment in her career. My dad likes to socialize with colleagues and visit restaurants at lunch time. My mom thinks going out to lunch is a huge waste of money, not to mention time, and refuses to see value in it.
Does my dad give my mom a hard time about her Macy’s bill?
Does my mom say mean things about eating out to my dad?
My parents never joined finances. The idea of a joint checking account in their house is laughable. They share a credit card, but my mom tallies up her half and writes my dad a check each month. They only share this card to earn miles faster.
My dad made mortgage payments. My mom made college tuition payments. My dad invested for himself, and for my mom.
When I was in college it sounded like my parents were divorced. “My mom pays my rent,” I’d tell people, or, “my dad pays my credit card bill” (and yes, of course I knew how lucky I had it!).
Sometimes it’s simple. You can work through a problem. Or you can cut the problem entirely. Would this have worked if they were a single-income family? Unlikely. But you haven’t met my mom. She likes to be in control of her finances. So she is.
I’ve never met another couple that works quite this way, but I would do it.
I knew someone who was a bitter divorcee and he was really upset that his wife left him the month after he finished paying off her student loans.
I’m single, so it’s easy for me to live in this lovely hypothetical world.
But, I wouldn’t want my spouse to feel expected to pay my student loans. Nor would I want him to feel responsible for my car payment.
I think my parents’ model is unique, and they should be commended for eliminating this source of tension way back when they were both broke and fresh out of college.
Now, if they could agree about household chores…